Sunday, September 28, 2003

Bashman, Redux

Hey P! I see that Howard has noticed our shout-outs to his growing importance to the appellate community. Hi Howard! I guess the plaintiffs didn't take my hint to email you. Now the 11th Circuit panel's clerks will have had the Alabama Solicitor General's last words in their e-ears as they sit down to write the opinions in the case. Foolish plaintiffs.

In other, non-law, news, I read this article about Palestinian celebrations of the third year anniversary of the "Second Intifada" and found it to be a depressing example of Reuters complete inability to tell a fair story in the middle east. Apparently, a Palestinian minister agrees.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Should Bashman Be Part of the Record

Plainsman notes that Bashman has become the one stop shop for every appellate judge and lawyer in the nation. The specific example of Bashman's emergent necessity is this post, in which Alabama S.G. Nate Forrester defends one of his staff against charges of incompetent advocacy in the Alabama sex toys case.

I agree with Plainsman. Howard is indispensible. Question, though: why is the Alabama S.G. wasting his time arguing the merits of an important appeal on a blog? Could it be that he thinks that the panel (and its law clerks) read Howard daily too, and wants to make sure that he get his voice heard? If so (and I think this is the likely explanation), does Howard owe the plaintiffs in the case a sur-reply? If I were the attorney for plaintiffs, I would shoot Howard an email post haste, which praised him, and then offered some more arguments on the merits. Prediction: in one year, writing an email to Howard Bashman, hoping for a positive mention in the blog, will become part of what it means to zealously represent a client in a high profile appellate case. Yikes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

A Good Apple

There is a wonderful article in this week's New Yorker about R. W. Apple, Jr., the NYT's famous reporter, and eater. Apple is the "quagmire guy"; he who Jack Shaferbelieves is a leading contrarian indicator. [That is, "Press Box" savages Apple for stating his "Q" heads summarizing the state of foreign policy as getting it precisely wrong, and marking the moment when things are about to get better]. The article and description of Apple, however, reminded me of my dear friend "Plainsman", now blogging on everything but law. Could it be that Plainsman is R.W. Apple? You'll never know.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Spleen Venting Time

Another thing. David Bernstein is really irritating me with his "The Horror" posts. First, he excerpted a small part of a story about Alabama's crumbling infrastructure to score a cheap point in defense of the state's retrograde undertaxation. But, the straw that broke the camel back was this idiotic post. Try to imagine yourself as a college freshman. The worst thing that could possibly happen in your life is to be woken up at 8:00 a.m. by a bunch of marchers outside your window screaming "The People, United, Will Never Be Divided". If you can't empathize with the horror of that moment, you are just old in your head.
A Virginia man was sentenced today to a 6.5 year term of imprisonment for selling fake bomb sniffing dogs to the government. Dog Trainer Russell Ebersole's argument at sentencing: "I believe in my dogs. They are heroes." AUSA's response: "[t]here is something sickeningly wrong with a man who steals from the Federal Emergency Management Agency at a time when it was stretched to the limit".

Well, yes. There is. But this low sentence, contrasted with mandatory minimum drug sentences, sort of makes me feel that there is something sickeningly wrong the system as as whole.

I can officially welcome my friend and former co-blogger to a blog of his own, the eponymous Plainsman. There, apparently, he is going to opine about only inconsequential things, so as to avoid potential conflicts with his new government job. P, are you sure the government agrees with you about Julia Child? You argue that "What struck me about the interview was that every critical judgment that the nonagenarian Child expressed was sound." But, according to our Great Leaders, all critical judgments are now likely to aid the terrorists. Might the terrorists have won if you convinced even one person that Contessa Ina Garten lacks "any charm"? Maybe the evil they have secretly despised Contessa Ina Garten for years!

Moving on.

I like P's blog, mostly because he has been able to do alone what we never managed to do together: make a functioning blog roll. How? He is a wicked smart guy. I may have to give up this blog just so I can start a new one that, well, works.

P is, unfortunately, not smart enough to avoid one of the most irritating heuristics of the last 4 years: the idea that there are "Red States" and "Blue States" and he lives in one of the former, and I the latter. I'm a little too tired right now to blog this out in the length it deserves, but suffice it to say, given an election where the Voters were divided equally, and states went one way or another on a few percentage point swings, it is a gross simplication to state that the middle of the country is homogenous in one way, and the coasts another. It tends to exagerate cultural divisions, make the national polity harder to govern, and encourage xenophobia. It is an observation borne out of television's need to concentrate relatively complex ideas into a simply graphic.